01 April, 2016

A is for Amsterdam

We visited Amsterdam when I was 13.

Let me back up. When I was a kid, we moved overseas. Most of my international experience centers on Asia (more in future posts), but my parents took advantage of a great opportunity to travel across northern Europe (more in future posts), and I'm so glad they did!

We were on our way back to the States for a year’s furlough away from the mission field, and took four weeks to caravan around Europe – that’s euro-speak for “camping”. We rented camping equipment and a van, beginning in… Amsterdam!

We didn't especially spend time in Amsterdam, to be honest, but we had a layover there during our journey from Asia. I think we only spent a day or two in Amsterdam on the outset of the trip, and another day when we returned to catch our plane to Chicago.

So what was my experience of Amsterdam? No hash-bars, I can tell you!

I have a lot of pictures of the buildings – so close together they were touching. I’d never seen anything like it before! And a tour by canal boat, which named points of significance that I no longer remember. Perhaps the house where Anne Frank wrote her diary was included on that canal tour, but I hadn't read it yet, so if it was pointed out, it didn't stick. I also noticed tons of bicycles. Much more popular than state-side.

This was my first experience of Europe, so my memory is more images of things that differed from the US. Narrow streets, small shops, architecture. All the signs looked so foreign, even though Dutch uses the same alphabet as English. We bought tulip bulbs, and delft blue tile-art, some of which are still used as coasters at my parents’ house. We visited the diamond market and watched diamonds being ground from mere pebbles into shiny gems. It all seemed so ordinary!

I remember one big public square. Cobblestones, probably a column of some sort with a statue on it, and my big brother chasing through a flock of pigeons. I think he was imitating some movie he saw. (this picture was either right before or after that)

Traveling is different when you’re young. As an adult, I’m more conscious of places of note. As a kid? I remember the campground we first stayed at, miles outside of the city, on our first night in Europe.  It had a great playground, lots of place to walk and run, even a water-play area on a lake. We met other English-speaking campers everywhere we stayed, so it was like a new party every night! 
The playground.
It was great.
It was large, modern, I remember climbing a lot.
I remember walking back to the camping area with another English-speaking girl.

But I never noticed Anne Frank in Amsterdam.

The moral of the story: Enjoy every minute.


  1. I think I do pretty good at trying to capture your moral. Life's too short to not enjoy it.

    It's awesome that you traveled all over Europe. My family's camping was a mere 12 miles from our home. We got to see different trees.

    1. We camped in the States, too, but never that close to home. My parents always made a journey of it.

  2. We love traveling, and plan on exposing our daughter (any any other future children) to as many places as possible. Amsterdam is high on our list of places to visit next, a Canal boat ride seems like the perfect option for kids and adults! Who doesn't love a boat ride! I look forward to coming back and checking out your B-Z posts!

    1. Good for you! I think travel is the best gift for kids. There is so much to *experience* everywhere you go.

  3. Great first post! My grandparents immigrated from Holland when they were young, and about 20 years ago I had the chance to go there and see where they grew up. It was a great experience. Can't wait to go back.

    1. I am so lucky to have been able to travel. My ancestry is from Germany, so we looked that up, too. I think travel is so important in life!

  4. Great post, and lucky you to have done traveling so young. I know what you mean though. I sometimes want to go back in time and slap my younger self for not better remembering trips I've taken or paying closer attention. Still, I guess that's part of being a kid.
    @DoreeWeller from
    Doree Weller’s Blog

    1. I really wouldn't change a thing, because even if I missed things, I was building my world-view at that age, so I consider myself blessed. Thanks for visiting! I'll check you out!

  5. Haven't been to Amsterdam, but I've watched a few scenes from a movie. It's beautiful, and I surely would want to visit it someday.
    Hope you had a great first day, and all the best for the challenge :)


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